If you missed the July 4 premiere of “A Night of Georgia Music” on GPB, the concert film will be re-broadcast at 9 a.m. Oct. 2 on the statewide network.

Recorded at Macon’s historic Grand Opera House and Capricorn Sound Studios in March 2022, the program dynamically showcases some of the Peach State’s most iconic songs.

It features R.E.M. founding member and Macon native Mike Mills; students from Mercer University’s Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and its founder, internationally renowned violin soloist and Macon native Robert McDuffie; and former Allman Brothers Band member and current Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell. 

Beginning in February 2023, “A Night of Georgia Music” will air on public television stations across the country. Station listings will be available on the program website, anightofgeorgiamusic.com.

“A Night of Georgia Music” includes songs of Georgia’s favorite contemporary artists, including Otis Redding, Ray Charles, the Allman Brothers Band, R.E.M., Outkast and the B-52s. The concert also incorporates elements from the Mills-composed “Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra.”

“Presenting these iconic songs of Georgia with legends Mike Mills and Chuck Leavell is a high point of my professional life. Being on stage with them makes this classical violinist feel ‘cool.’ The music resonates in a visceral way for so many people,” notes McDuffie. “Playing at The Grand for a national television audience makes me proud to be from Macon.”

The Macon production follows a successful concert tour in 2019 that included sold-out performances in Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta and Birmingham, Alabama. Concerts in additional cities, including Macon, were planned until the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed live performances.

“Georgia is such a great state for music — the most fertile state in the country, as far as I’m concerned,” Mills said. “We’ve curated an hour of songs either about Georgia, by Georgia artists, or a combination of both. The only formula I used to build the set list is that you have a great starter to grab the audience’s attention, and then it flows from there. It has movement, but at the same time it’s cohesive.”

“I thought it was a brilliant concept, because as Mike points out, Georgia has so many great songs and great artists,” said Leavell, who is currently on tour with the Rolling Stones in Europe. “The hard part was deciding what to leave out. It was an honor to be asked to join with Mike and Bobby to perform this show.”

Arrangements for “A Night of Georgia Music” were provided by award-winning composer David Mallamud, and the string orchestra is conducted by Ward Stare.

The concert was filmed and produced by multiple Emmy Award-winner 7 Cinematics, which has previously produced live concerts for PBS and other national networks, including The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks and the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Great Pyramids. In addition to taping at The Grand, one segment for the show was shot in Macon’s historic Capricorn Sound Studios, restored by Mercer in 2019.

Major funding for “A Night of Georgia Music” is provided by The Peyton Anderson Foundation and the W. Mansfield Jennings Jr. Charitable Trust. Additional funding is provided by the Knight Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.

Songs featured in the show include:

  • “One Way Out”
  • “Rainy Night in Georgia”
  • “Rain in Spain”
  • “Southscape”
  • “Respect”
  • “Give Me Back My Man”
  • “Georgia On My Mind”
  • “Hey Ya”
  • “Losing My Religion”
  • “Jessica”

 

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Julia Rubens is the director of arts marketing at Mercer University, where she seeks to promote The Grand Opera House, McEachern Art Center, Tattnall Square Center for the Arts, Townsend School of Music and the McDuffie Center for Strings.